From The Editor....
Everyone, it seems, has the sound of an ideal loudspeaker in their head. That's why there are so many loudspeaker manufacturers on this planet, each founded to deliver that elusive perfect sound. Ah – what simple romance!
It's easy enough to achieve. Buy some drive units, put them in a box of specified volume, knock up a crossover and get twiddling! I've done it all in the past, with circular saw, sheets of MDF and a lot of necessary enthusiasm. There's no end of design software available to match bass unit to cabinet and design a suitable crossover.
At the end of the day though, do you tweak to get the sound you want or go down the more difficult path of a loudspeaker that is technically accurate? This is notionally quite simple with loudspeakers: they should produce the same sound pressure output as a microphone sees as a sound pressure input.
Having done all this I can say with confidence that "accurate" is different to "exciting". Turn up bass and treble for the latter.
On p10 you can see how French loudspeaker manufacturer of note, Focal, approach the issue with their Chora 806 loudspeaker. Like KEF of the UK and Quadral of Germany they go for accuracy. Within that constraint the Chora 806 delivers a great sound from its damped carbon fibre/polymer cone material that is a delight to hear.
B&W prefer to liven things up in their vivid sounding 607 S2 Anniversary Edition bookshelf loudspeaker that you can read about on p38. This little ‘speaker, like the larger 603 S2 reviewed in our March 2021 issue, offers a different take on things. It isn't accurate in response terms but it certainly delivers enormous detail and insight, garnering praise from many.
Loudspeakers will forever remain contentious. I hope you find our insightful views that are based on measurement as well as personal opinion useful in guiding you through the loudspeaker maze.
Reading Chris Frankland's appraisal of the Topping E30 DAC on p17 I'm reminded that China still manages to deliver products of breathtaking ability relative to cost. This little DAC has a top quality AKM 4493 digital convertor chip on board, delivered fantastic results under measurement yet cost peanuts. How do they do it?
And finally, don't miss Ortofon's impressive Per Windfeld Ti moving coil cartridge on p69 – a premium product that brings superb sound from LP, every bit as good – arguably better – than that possible from digital. Who would have expected LP to manage this.